Tubeless help, please!

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5/5/2018 7:34 PM

OK, guys help me out. I have a leaky wheel and I can't figure it out.

For a while I've been running Stan's tape and sealant with a generic valve. The thing holds air well enough for one ride but the next day it will be down 10-15 pounds. I've lived with it for a while but today I decided to change it up.

I wasn't convinced the wheel tape was good because it just didn't seem like it was sticking when I put it on. So instead, I tried some Gorilla tape like I've heard. I cut it to the proper rim width, ran a good overlap, and filled up my tire. The thing went flat in less than a half hour, so I tried again with more overlap. Flat again. I sprayed some soapy water on the valve stem and all the spokes and it's bubbling by the valve, so I chucked the valve and bought a Stan's valve. Unwrapped all the tape and went with a fresh, double-wrap of new product, installed the new valve and aired it up. Still no good!

I've spent 4 hours in the garage today trying to get this thing together and it's like I'm cursed. I've been trying to figure out what can possibly be wrong, and all I can think of are the following possibilities:

1) The old valve was leaky and the brand new one is too (unlikely);
2) The Gorilla Tape allows air through it. (Is this possible? It's much stickier and I took immense caution to put it down flat and tight. There's no way air is getting around it.)
3) The rim profile is somehow bent and doesn't allow for a flat seal. This seems like the most likely, but it doesn't look out of round or anything. The wheels are about 6 months old (came with the new bike,) and I've never damaged them.
4) Air is getting around the tape and getting past one or more of the internal spoke holes, then finding its way out at the valve stem. (Again, I put two wraps of Gorilla tape down and it's on flat & tight. I don't think this is happening.)
5) The interface between the valve stem and the inner rim isn't sealing. Right now I'm running the rubber seal on top of the tape instead of cutting the tape and running rubber against metal. Is that OK?

SO, what's going on? I don't want to run tubes again. HELP!!!

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5/5/2018 7:35 PM

PS- when people talk about Gorliia tape, they're talking about Gorilla Tape you buy at Home Depot, right? Duct tape?

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5/5/2018 8:02 PM

Can I ask what rim/ tire combo you have?
Not all valves work with all rim profiles, Roval suggests their valve, and magic does the same.
Gorilla tape is not completely air tight, while the stans tape is. If there is any corrosion on the rim bed it will let air into the spoke holes and around the tape.

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2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR expert 29er
2015 Specialized Camber Comp Custom Build

5/5/2018 8:09 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/5/2018 8:11 PM

I'm running WTB STP i25 rims and a Maxxis Highroller II on this wheel. The bead is insanely good; I can rarely get it back off without a lot of cursing! The air is definitely not coming out between the wheel/tire.

Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll go back to the Stan's tape. I'm still not sure that's what is causing this leak, though. There's a lot of air coming out. It's blowing big, fast bubbles from under the nut on the valve stem.

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5/6/2018 8:12 AM

I had a similar problem with a wheel at work the other day. That rim had an asymmetric profile such that the valve hole was not centered on the high point of the rim. A second, fatter o ring on the outside solved my problem.

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5/6/2018 10:29 AM

if air is leaking at the valve, its probably the valve/valve insertion point
-+1 for bigger rubber o-ring in between the rim and valve collar
-with the valve installed and collar hand tight, put the wheel on the ground and push on the valve from the back to create more slack for spinning the collar even further - obviously we want to be able to get the valve out in an emergency on the trail so dont over tighten or use a tool to tighten
-it takes time for sealant to work - if air is coming out at the valve, install everything including sealant and get the sealant where the leak is. spin the wheel so the valve is at the bottom, and gently shake the wheel so sealant will splash the valve over and over again. you can also gently bounce the wheel against the ground with leaky side hitting the ground.

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5/8/2018 7:29 PM

I'll try the o-ring trick.

By the way, in my most recent attempts I've been using no sealant in the wheel, just to see if it holds air at the stem. Does the Gorilla tape need to be "conditioned" with sealant to work?
Obviously, I intend to run sealant for punctures but I was just planning on squeezing it in through the valve stem after determining I didn't have to disassemble again..

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5/8/2018 7:49 PM

Falcon wrote:

I'll try the o-ring trick.

By the way, in my most recent attempts I've been using no sealant in the wheel, just to see if it holds air at the stem. Does the Gorilla tape need to be "conditioned" with sealant to work?
Obviously, I intend to run sealant for punctures but I was just planning on squeezing it in through the valve stem after determining I didn't have to disassemble again..

Gorilla tape doesn't seem to be the solution to your stem problem. Stans tape isn't woven like the gorilla or duck tape. I have found heating up the end of a pokey tool (pick, needle, dentist's torture instrument) then creating a perfect hole in the tape to work the best with situations involving the valve. Stans tape has a tendency to split if you cut the valve hole too big.

Another solution could be to get the specific WTB valve. It is designed to work with WTB rims and should fit yours well.

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2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR expert 29er
2015 Specialized Camber Comp Custom Build

5/9/2018 9:01 AM

Cant you just stick the wheel in the bath and see where its leaking? I have also sprayed soapy water around the valve stem and spotted the bubbles confirming its the valve

Good luck

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5/9/2018 5:27 PM

The air is definitely coming from underneath the valve collar nut. None of the spoke nipples are blowing bubbles but the valve stem is. I can see it coming out from under the nut; it has a flat profile and the rim is curved so it's easy to see with soapy water.
I've been heating up a phillips screwdriver to puncture the tape over the stem hole.

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5/9/2018 7:00 PM

How tight are you turning the nut on the valve? The rubber piece on the end of the valve is meant to create a seal so that no air escapes through the valve hole.

If nothing else works i would suggest getting the rubber conversion strips with the valve moulded into the strip.
Either that or getting the WTB TCS valves what are made to slot directly into the channel.

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2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR expert 29er
2015 Specialized Camber Comp Custom Build

5/10/2018 10:50 AM

I've tried "finger" tight, "push on the back side with my thumb + finger" tight, and "deform the inner rubber cone because you cranked on the collar nut with pliers" tight. None seems to work.

I'm going to try the rubber o-ring trick first; that should go between the cone-shaped rubber piece on the valve stem and the inside of the rim, against the wheel tape, right? (That's where the air has to stop.)

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5/10/2018 1:41 PM

dude! why are you not using sealant?? that is what sealant is for... it sealzes shit. you could be done days ago

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5/10/2018 4:29 PM

dirtyberd wrote:

dude! why are you not using sealant?? that is what sealant is for... it sealzes shit. you could be done days ago

I do use sealant, but removing it every time I had to re-disassemble the wheel was getting old the other day. The leak is far too fast for the sealant to stop it. I'm trying to get the main malfunction corrected and then I'll run the sealant again.

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5/10/2018 4:49 PM

What brand valve are you using?
You shouldn't have to put an o ring on the outside of the rim. That means air and air pressure is getting to a place where it isn't supposed to be. That means sealant and other liquid will be getting to the spokes and causing corrosion.
I had this same problem on another WTB rim (an older frequency rim).
Good luck! - I mean it, I've been there, and I do tubeless conversions for a living!

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2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR expert 29er
2015 Specialized Camber Comp Custom Build

5/15/2018 2:58 PM

Broken_spoke.photo wrote:

What brand valve are you using?
You shouldn't have to put an o ring on the outside of the rim. That means air and air pressure is getting to a place where it isn't supposed to be. That means sealant and other liquid will be getting to the spokes and causing corrosion.
I had this same problem on another WTB rim (an older frequency rim).
Good luck! - I mean it, I've been there, and I do tubeless conversions for a living!

This is what I was thinking.

For now, I'm giving up. I just grabbed a tube and went riding over the weekend. I'm over it. Gonna recharge for a few weeks or months and then try again... start all over with branded wheel tape and some professional help.

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